How baby boomers are spending big in retirement


Baby boomers are not going gently into that good night, redefining what it means to retire and grow old.

According to the 2021/22 edition of The Boomer Guide (commissioned by Starts at 60) rather than slowing down, over 60s are looking to spend their money and live it up.

"The advance of 'old age' has been slowed by the Baby Boomers," says demographer Bernard Salt.

how baby boomers are spending big in retirement

"The Baby Boomer's idea of retirement-oops, I mean 'idea of post-work lifestyle'-is to remain firmly in demand. Perhaps working one day a week for commercial purposes. Perhaps doing a bit of volunteering."

More than a quarter of all Australians are over 60, and they boast 46% of Australia's disposable income and 50% of our private wealth.

But don't expect Boomers to hoard it for their kids' inheritance.

Over two-thirds (64%) of all new car purchases are by over 60s, while 55% of all leisure travel spending is attributed to the age group.

Open borders can't come soon enough for the boomers, who seem to have itchy feet during lockdown. Almost two thirds of survey respondents said they plan to travel domestically within the next three years (57.9%), and 20.2% are itching for to travel independently internationally.

Despite being spenders, over 60s are still discerning about their consumer choices.

"While over-60 Australians outspend millennials in entertainment, auto, health, travel and almost every other category, 94% dislike the way brands, organisations and marketers communicate with them and 78% are willing to switch brands for a better deal or good value," says Starts at 60 CEO Rebecca Wilson.

The research found that 92% actively seek out a good deal on products they plan to buy, while 78.9% are prepared to switch brands if they find a better deal.

Reflecting the high net worth of the baby boomer generation, 28% own a home worth more than $750,000. While 52.2% say that they're happy with their home, 11.4% are considering downsizing.

"Whatever is to be the way of the post-pandemic era, of one thing we can be certain; these years will be redefined by a new generation of what we now call 'retirees' who will work assiduously at recreating life's last stanza, final act, closing statement, retirement years, with a fierce determination to do things differently, very differently," says Salt.

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David Thornton was a journalist at Money from September 2019 to November 2021. He previously worked at Your Money, covering market news as producer of Trading Day Live. Before that, he covered business and finance news at The Constant Investor. David holds a Masters of International Relations from the University of Melbourne.
Joyce Piper
July 28, 2021 5.48pm

Being 60 + is not what it once used to be. It is certainly NOT the last stanza as reported in this story. The privilege of "retirement" from the day job for some provides the opportunity to reinvent ones-self, start a small business that has been a life long passion, continue study, learn new things and meet new people, doing as many things as you are comfortably able to do because you didn't have the time and energy whilst working full time for the firm.

Its time to change the paradigm around "retirement". We are not a bunch of doddery oldies sitting in the waiting room.

Col Baillie
July 28, 2021 7.43pm

Well said Joyce, totally agree.

Jack shizza
July 28, 2021 8.16pm

Most selfish generation in human history.

Chris Lord
July 29, 2021 10.15am

Jacked off about baby boomers? They came into the world post war and have contributed to the greatest global boom of wealth in history. If you don't like them, then stop using all the benefits you enjoy from the work they have done and live in an eastern European country that hasn't seen benefits to them since WW2 ended. If you feel you lack, then put in the effort that the baby boomers generation has then your selfish comment may then evaporate.

La Na
July 30, 2021 12.53pm

Here here. I personally have worked long and hard for what I have. I cannot understand all the financial assistance and tax benefits that they get then they BUY multiple coffees on work days. Hello. Take a sandwich to work for lunch and have a cuppa like we did. Also the way they are voting they might as well go live in North Korea as if things keep going the way they are that is the kind of country they will have. Years ago when migrants came here they used the hard work strategy and did well. They usually had several jobs and made good lives for their families. The whiners should get working on a strategy and stick at it. Sometimes things that look easy actually takes a lot of long term hard work.

Christina Faulk
July 29, 2021 1.02pm

How old are you Jack ? Baby boomers worked hard - my parents were migrants in the 50ties and worked almost 24/7 to buy a house and move to a nicer suburb. Baby boomers have the right to enjoy their 'post-work' years - I suspect you're waiting for my generation to pop our clogs and have more houses come on the market...only problem, will you be able to afford them ?

John Battista
September 9, 2021 1.36pm

I think jealousy is a curse and I dont agree were selfish at least im not , a tip for you is do you as well as you can.